OPP say local drivers not stopping for the school buses is almost a daily occurrence, and there is a concern for the children getting on and off the bus.
On November 10 at 9:40 a.m., North Bay OPP received a complaint about a vehicle not stopping for the school bus. (see photo above)
"The OPP will be out on our local roadways conducting extra patrols looking for drivers not obeying the rules regarding school buses," promises Constable Nathalie Muirhead.
In accordance with the Highway Traffic Act, new amber-yellow lights will flash as the school bus approaches a stop which will serve as a warning to drivers that the bus will be stopping soon.
"Motorists encountering a stopped school bus that has its overhead red signal lights flashing (the stop arm does not need to be extended), shall stop before reaching the bus and shall not proceed until the bus moves or the overhead read signal lights have stopped flashing. This applies whether you are meeting or following a school bus and includes multi-lane roads. The only exception is when driving on a road with a median - traffic coming from the opposite direction is not required to stop, added Muirhead.
Penalties include a fine of $490 plus six demerit points for a first offence and range from $1,000 to $4,000, plus six demerit points and possible jail time up to six months for each subsequent offence upon conviction.
In Ontario, school-bus drivers and other witnesses can report vehicles that have illegally passed a school bus. Vehicle owners can also be charged if their vehicle illegally passes a stopped school bus, regardless of who was driving the vehicle at the time.
Drivers are also encouraged to:
- Be aware of school zones and reduce their speed.
- Be patient as children cross the road.
- Make eye contact with the children wanting to cross the road.
- Obey all bus signals and never try to pass when they are stopped.
- Give yourself extra travel time.